Founders of Nursing Program Honored

On May 7, 2015, the 30th graduating class of Bemidji State University’s nursing program received their nursing pins. As a way to celebrate 30 years of nursing education at BSU, part of the pinning ceremony was dedicated to honoring the founding faculty of the program: Joelyn Scriba, Diane Rose and Rochelle “Riki” Scheela. While faculty member Marci Maple described their achievements and the history of the department, Dean Jeanine Gangeness pinned the honorees with a BSU nursing pin.

The BSU Department of Nursing was established in 1983 under Joelyn Scriba’s leadership, and she served as chair of the department until 1995. She was instrumental in the development of both the Itasca Nursing Education Consortium and the Aggasiz Region Nursing Education Consortium. Her efforts to promote access to quality baccalaureate nursing education in rural northern Minnesota have been widely recognized. Scriba served as acting dean of the Center for Extended Learning from 1997 to 2000 and retired from BSU in May 2005.

Diane Rose was one of the original faculty members of the RN to Baccalaureate program in the Department of Nursing. She served students and the department from 1983 until her retirement in 2007. Rose brought family nursing expertise to the curriculum, teaching such classes as Transcultural Nursing, Family Health Nursing, and Issues in Adolescent Health. She holds a master’s degree in pediatric nursing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in nursing from the University of Minnesota.

Riki Scheela was also one of the original faculty members and served as chair of the department from 1999-2006. She holds a master’s degree in psychiatric/mental health nursing from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in Educational Administration from the College of St. Thomas and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Austin. She is ANA Certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing and spent part of her career as a therapist for sex offenders. Her research focused on the treatment of sex offenders, their victims and families, and the therapists who work with the offenders.

Sarah Tarutis, current Chair of the Nursing Department, shared her sentiments about the three founders during the ceremony. She told the graduates, “I too earned a bachelor’s degree from BSU and was lucky enough to experience Joelyn Scriba’s love for inquiry and electric sense of humor, Diane Rose’s rock solid integrity, and Riki Scheela’s interest in the lived experience of vulnerable populations. The student/faculty interactions I had with these remarkable women left a lasting impression and grounded me in the art and the science of nursing.”

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